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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi! As the title of the thread states, I feel like I'm borderline losing my mind! We've had our 2 1/2 y/o red female ever since she was about 7 weeks old, and this has been a consistent thing. First off... I KNOW this has been an owner issue (us), so I'm looking for suggestions on how my family and I can adjust behavior and/or treatment of these situations to break this dog of this behavior. Here's a little background:

When we first got her (7 weeks), we didn't realize at the time, but she had an inverted vulva, and would frequently get urinary infections until 3-4 months later our (new) vet caught the source of the issue, and recommended corrective surgery. She's actually had multiple surgeries over her lifetime thus far, but only the first one was related to urinary issues. Her others were related to getting a fatty tumor removed, and getting 2 eye entropions fixed. Unfortunately, one of the things that resulted from these surgeries was our (my family's) tendency to go easier on her as she was healing, which was seemingly ongoing as she's had several surgeries. Our general thoughts were (at first), "Oh, she can't help it... poor thing." However, after her first surgery, it let up for a bit, but a little further down the line, the dominant behavior/marking began...

I'm almost entirely convinced that her peeing inside is out of dominance, as I've never had a dog so hell bent on being the alpha in the household. We have one other dog (Dobie mix), and there's constant competition between the 2 of them. Timber's (our other dog) is dominant over the food, but Lily (the subject of this thread) is dominant over everything else, including people's attention/affection. Over the last couple of years she has always expressed extremely dominant behavior, and seemingly tends to show this both in her dominance of our other dog (not letting him near toys and such), and even (once) going so far as peeing on my wife's brother's leg! The NUMBER ONE issue from this, is that she NEVER - not a single time in the last 18 months or so - has peed in front of us in the house. EVER (the leg peeing incident was a long time ago, but was still worth mentioning). So, it's not even something I can immediately correct! She's so sneaky about it that it's driving me nuts! When we go to work during the day, she's kenneled so she won't pee inside or chew up my remote controls (we've gone through about 10, including 1 last night). In the night, we don't kennel her, but I'm starting to think we need to, because in the morning is almost always when we find another mark. But is that the ultimate answer? We had somebody dog-sit for us while being on vacation, and she didn't pee in their house once! So I KNOW this has got to be a behavioral thing around our house.

At this point I'm so desperate that I don't know what else to do. Does she need to be kenneled 100% of the time she's not in the same room with us? That in itself seems like a ridiculous idea because it's not feasible to crate her the moment I walk out of her sight... Last night I was at a friend's house, my wife took a bath, and when she got out, the dog had peed on the carpet! Does this dog need to live her entire life in a crate?? It's breaking my heart because I know she pees outside, and I know her behavior is dominance related, but for the life of me, I just can't break her of this disgusting habit!

So, long story short... lots of marking (always in the living room, or downstairs), always does it when we're not in the same room, and not medically related. HELP PLEASE! Constructive criticism (accompanied by sound advice...) GREATLY appreciated!
 

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Sounds like you probably should contact a board certified behaviorist. I know that several members here know the website address, but I don't remember it. I'm sure they will give it to you when they post.

In the meantime, if it really is not medically related, then yeah, you do need to go back to basics. If you're not right there with her, she's crated. Have you tried tethering her to you? That way, she can't wander off and pee in another room.

As for the resourse guarding, my two never get the chance to fight over food. They are each fed in their own bowl, and suprvised while they eat . Bones and chew toys are only when they are in their own spot, and if an attempt is made to steal the other dogs treat, then I get all the goodies, and they get nothing.
 

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MOATS
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You've allowed it to go on long enough that you've reinforced the behavior, so you will need to start over as if she were a puppy. Lots of trips outside to potty, then praise / treat when she goes. Inside the house either keep her leashed to you, or crated when you can't supervise; don't allow the opportunity for accidents to happen in the first place.

Also, be sure to thoroughly clean the areas she has soiled with a product like Nature's Miracle or with vinegar & baking soda to ensure the odor is entirely removed.

Obviously, I'm not in your home and can't see the behaviors, but from what you've described I wouldn't categorize it as "dominance", just some resource guarding and a dog being obnoxious because there aren't enough rules in place. Check out NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free), providing more structure may help with her behavior overall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies so far. I 100% agree with all statements made thus far. As far as odor control, we use Nature's Miracle Advanced formula, and it works for the stains, but I think at this point the carpet pad has probably absorbed a certain amount of the stain, so I think the pad and/or carpet will need to be replaced before all traces of odor are totally gone.

It's ultimately our fault for letting it go on so far, but it's not like we haven't tried corrective action. It's just that it's gone on long enough that I'm just desperate enough to ask for help this time.

Ok, so for starters, tether her to us when not in the same room, and establish personal "space" for each of the dogs to provide some means of separation. Supervised potty breaks as well. Should this imply that every time she's outside she should be directly watched? My wife smokes and tends to take her out with her on every smoke break (every couple of hours) as a habit, which is a lot of "letting her out". Should we limit her outside access solely to when she needs to potty and limit her recreational activity outside?

Sorry for asking somewhat stupid/obvious questions... I'm trying to correct my own actions at the same time, so it's back to basics for me as well...
 

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MOATS
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Thanks for the replies so far. I 100% agree with all statements made thus far. As far as odor control, we use Nature's Miracle Advanced formula, and it works for the stains, but I think at this point the carpet pad has probably absorbed a certain amount of the stain, so I think the pad and/or carpet will need to be replaced before all traces of odor are totally gone.

It's ultimately our fault for letting it go on so far, but it's not like we haven't tried corrective action. It's just that it's gone on long enough that I'm just desperate enough to ask for help this time.

Ok, so for starters, tether her to us when not in the same room, and establish personal "space" for each of the dogs to provide some means of separation. Supervised potty breaks as well. Should this imply that every time she's outside she should be directly watched? My wife smokes and tends to take her out with her on every smoke break (every couple of hours) as a habit, which is a lot of "letting her out". Should we limit her outside access solely to when she needs to potty and limit her recreational activity outside?

Sorry for asking somewhat stupid/obvious questions... I'm trying to correct my own actions at the same time, so it's back to basics for me as well...
Yes, if you've got a dog that resource guards food, feed them in separate areas. If you've got a dog that resource guards toys / bones, give them some space or separate play time.

I wouldn't limit her recreational time outside, I'd take her outside on a leash every time you let her out. After she does her business and you've praised / treated to reward the behavior, then she can be unleashed to play / run around.
 

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When she goes out, it should be "potty first, then play". If she doesn't potty, she doesn't get to play, so she should probably be leashed when she's taken out. Tethering makes her to stay with you, and not wander off into another room to pee. At night, she needs to be crated, and any time you are not there to supervise (like taking a shower), she's in her crate.

Don't give either dog a chance to guard anything. Seperate for feeding, and giving chew toys. Everything belongs to YOU, and you are just being nice, by giving it to them. For example, both of my dogs have to sit and wait for their food, and can't eat until they are told they can.

And yeah, if the padding under the carpet is soaked, it needs to go. I hate carpteting, and between my kids and pets, am SO glad I have wood floors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, I think I've got the idea.

If anyone decides to chime in with that behavioral specialist information (lol, not sure if I need it more than the dog at this point), please do. I'm going to do what needs to be done to get over these issues, so any other advice that's lent is definitely taken with consideration.

Thanks!
 

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Thank you, S&MM. I knew there was a website, but for the life of me couldn't remember the address. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
When your wife takes her out, does she urinate? Is she entirely comfortable urinating while being watched?
She doesn't have an issue peeing while being watched, although come to think of it, I can't recall a time that she's actually peed while being on-leash. When she takes her out, typically she doesn't pay too much attention to what she does, although she does take note that she pees a couple of times during the evening, once after we get home, and again before we got to bed. It's one of those things that when we're looking for it, she is peeing outside, but truth be told, I haven't paid too much attention lately because Lily does pee regularly outside, in addition to her middle of the night/early morning marking in our living room.

Her issues are definitely dominance related. I've noticed that she'll also do it shortly after she's been disciplined... as long as we're not within sight. :\
 

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Her issues are definitely dominance related. I've noticed that she'll also do it shortly after she's been disciplined... as long as we're not within sight. :\
How are you defining dominance? Dominance is actually about the control of resources... growling when you tell her to get off the couch, that sort of thing. Defining her motivations in this way makes this an adversarial thing, which is at best not constructive. I strongly suspect that she is either unclear and confused about the whole housebreaking thing (and has been forever) or that this is a function of stress. You have let this go on for a very long time without helping her to learn different habits. Deciding that this is something she is doing to get back at you or make a statement or whatever you think she's doing is something that is unwarranted and counterproductive.
 

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MOATS
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She doesn't have an issue peeing while being watched, although come to think of it, I can't recall a time that she's actually peed while being on-leash. When she takes her out, typically she doesn't pay too much attention to what she does, although she does take note that she pees a couple of times during the evening, once after we get home, and again before we got to bed. It's one of those things that when we're looking for it, she is peeing outside, but truth be told, I haven't paid too much attention lately because Lily does pee regularly outside, in addition to her middle of the night/early morning marking in our living room.

Her issues are definitely dominance related. I've noticed that she'll also do it shortly after she's been disciplined... as long as we're not within sight. :\
That is not dominance, that's indicative of stress / anxiety.
 

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...Her issues are definitely dominance related. I've noticed that she'll also do it shortly after she's been disciplined... as long as we're not within sight. :\
Others addressed this, but ask yourself this: How is Lilly peeing on the carpet dominating me?

Dogs just really do not think that way.

They may react out of stress/anxiety and/or confusion, but they truly aren't plotting that if they make a mess on your carpet it will ruin your day and therefore they will somehow be the boss of you :D

I want to address the medical aspect--having raised a puppy who also had vulva deformation, I can tell you it was HELL making sure she got good positive housebreaking experiences, did not get berated and punished for any accidents (my fault, she could NOT hold it), but really praised and reinforced for going outside.

When dogs go off into other parts of the house to pee, they are connecting punishment with the act of urination. We humans end up basically accidentally teaching them to be "sneakier."

What we wanted to teach them was not to pee at all in the house, but what they learn is "don't pee in the house in front of the humans or things get really bad."

Start over again, treat her like a young pup, totally rule out any medical issues--my girl is still a bit more prone to sort of a "subclinical UTI" and needs treated occasionally--and go back to square one with effective housebreaking methods.

You're really going to have to relax and be low-key with your voice and body language, if she's as stressed as it sounds like she is. She may really be uncomfortable going on lead in front of you, afraid she'll get in trouble.

Try going to one spot in the yard only, don't give much eye contact or verbal, just stand there and kinda wait it out, 'til she pees, then praise her, even give her a treat if she wants one.

It's going to take work and a ton of patience, but when you feel frustrated and want to give up, just remember how much nicer and easier it will be compared to all the carpet cleaning.

P.S. My jacked-up vulva girl is now, at about age 2, 100% reliable on housebreaking, and has been since about seven months old. Have hope, it can be done, even with medical challenges.
 
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